WHITBY Town player-boss Darren Williams apologised to supporters after Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Mickleover, who came into the game just two places above the struggling Seasiders, writes Andrew Snaith.
The result, Whitby’s biggest defeat since February, leaves the second-bottom Blues seven points adrift of safety and Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “I think an apology needs to go out to the fans and everybody that came down.
“We just didn’t perform and I think for fans to spend money and take time out and see that display - it’s just not on really.
“I think it was a very poor display by ourselves, not taking anything away from Mickleover.
“They did really well but from our point of view, there’s no reason why we should be getting beaten in a manner like that.”
The former Sunderland and Dundee defender made one change from the side that lost 3-1 at Hednesford Town in his first game as manager.
Kev Burgess sat out a one-match ban for picking up five bookings, so Sam Hodgson came into midfield, with Alex White moving across to centre-half and skipper Mark Robinson dropping from left-wing to left-back.
The signs were ominous right from the start with the home side set up perfectly to take advantage of their narrow pitch.
They missed a gilt-edged chance inside 12 minutes when centre-half Nick Wood put a free header wide from point-blank range, after latching onto Kieran O’Connell’s corner.
At the other end, Robinson’s deep cross was touched inches past Damon Clarke’s near post, by Matty Tymon.
Then halfway through the first half, following what was to be Whitby’s best spell of the game, Callum Martin cut in from the left flank and forced Clarke to tip the ball around his right-hand post.
However, it was the Derby side who led on 27 minutes after the lively O’Connell went down under minimal contact around 25 yards from goal, just in from the left touchline.
Danny Martin swung over a lofted free-kick, that looked to have gone out of play, but it was cut back for Karl Ashton to drive past Dave Campbell from close range.
Things went from bad to worse when the lead was doubled inside three minutes. A perfect through-ball released Ashton, with Campbell out quickly to save with his legs, but no-one picked up right-back Kevin Grocott, who popped up on the edge of the penalty area, to lob the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Town should have reduced the arrears before half-time as a beautifully-timed Dave McTiernan pass released Tymon, the ex-Hartlepool forward rounded Clarke before squaring for Andy Leeson to lash a hurried first-time shot-on-the-run over the unguarded net, from the left edge of the box.
Early in the second half, Ashton should have punished the visitors’ lack of edge, but slammed high and wide when perfectly-placed to put the result beyond doubt. The same player then chipped wastefully over the crossbar, before Whitby’s Martin saw his speculative 18-yard effort, deflected over the top.
Martin, so often Town’s only attacking outlet this season, turned provider on the hour, but his inviting corner was nodded over by White, with the goal yawning in front of him. And the Seasiders were eventually made to pay during a frenzied five-minute spell from Dick Pratley’s men.
First, Danny Martin headed wide when perfectly-placed, then moments later, a vicious angled drive from the league’s top scorer Alex Steadman, curled centimetres past Campbell’s left-hand post from 25 yards. Seconds later, a fizzing Ashton half-volley struck the post again, but this time, defender Thom Kellogg reacted quickest to force straight back into the top of the net.
Whitby went straight up the other end and Robinson’s deep free-kick was headed against the far post by Hodgson with Clarke beaten.
Then just to rub salt into the wounds and definitively end the contest, Mickleover netted their second goal in three minutes on the break, as Ashton was left one-on-one with Campbell and slotted home for 4-0.
With 22 minutes remaining, youngster Jake Faichney replaced Leeson up front, but White summed up Whitby’s day when he sent a 30-yard free-kick into orbit, moments later.
Williams pushed Martin up front and Robinson into midfield but it was soon to be all over, minutes after Campbell smothered from Graves’ drive. The last nail in the coffin came from the unmarked Steadman, who benefited from a kind deflection off a team-mate, to tap his 10th goal of the season past Campbell.
Ashley Lyth made his first appearance in a Town shirt for two months, replacing Tom Marron in a 15-minute cameo and Tymon had time to poke wide on the turn, kicking out at the advertising board in fury.
His manager seems equally frustrated and players will be looking over their shoulders in games to come with Williams revealing: “There will be some action this week.
“Looking at the format over the last so many games, it is inevitable that we need to bring new players in.”
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Marron (Lyth 75), Robinson (c), Hassan, White, Hodgson, Martin, McTiernan, Tymon, Leeson (Faichney 68), Hawkins (Dunford 78). Subs not used: Courtney (GK), Williams. Attendance: 173
Mickleover Sports 5 Whitby Town 0